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Eastern Australia's ongoing cold snap sees homeless move north

SYDNEY, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Homeless people from Australia's south which is experiencing a record and sustained cold snap are heading north to warmer areas.

Successive Antarctic cold fronts have dumped snow and freezing rain in the southern states of Victoria and Queensland and seen temperatures drop below zero in many areas and as low as five degrees in usually warmer coastal areas at night.

But the wind chill factor has made conditions much colder and it was reported by Fairfax Media on Thursday that one Sydney homeless woman died from hypothermia last week, and was not murdered as police first thought.

Those moving north and heading to Queensland's Gold Coast tourist strip, either hitchhiking or using a once a year train trip available to those on welfare, which most homeless people are.

But News Corp quoted Jason McDonald who works with homeless people on the Gold Coast as saying the new arrivals were putting a strain on their services.

"They come by public transport or hitchhike. It's too cold down there," he said.

"The problem is we don't have enough emergency housing to help everyone out."

The cold snap began a month ago and is expected to last another week or two at the least, the Bureau of Meteorology has said.

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